The 2-year-old daughter of a Port Richmond woman murdered last year doesn’t fully understand that her mom is gone.
“There’s days that she’ll ask for her mom,” neighbor Marie Larkins said of Clarissa, the little girl who was the only witness to the unsolved murder of Stephanie Dzikowski. “She’ll look up at the sky and say ‘Mommy I love you,’ then blow her a kiss. I think she doesn’t realize she’s not coming back.”
Larkins and 50 other friends, family members and neighbors rallied for answers Saturday outside Dzikowski’s home on the 3000 block of Aramingo Avenue, where the 22-year-old lived with her father, daughter and boyfriend, and lost her life.
“They were supposed to move in August into their own place. She was killed a week before,” Larkins said of the July 30, 2015, murder of Dzikowski.
Whoever shot Dzikowski to death is believed to have known her, the family dog did not bark at them after they ran into the house, Larkins said.
“We don’t know if it’s someone who knows her and gave their condolences at her funeral,” she said.
It was around 11 p.m. on July 30 when shots rang out from inside the home. Dzikowski’s boyfriend Sean Sadowniczak got a call at the corner store where he’d gone to buy milk and rushed home, only to find his daughter sitting on the bed upstairs, according to Larkins.
After frantically continuing to search the house, he returned to the bedroom and found Dzikowski lying out of sight behind the bed with a bullet hole in her head just feet from where her daughter was found, said Larkins, who arrived moments later on the scene.
“Sometimes she’ll say, ‘He hurt mommy. … Mommy got hurt in the head,'” Larkinssaid of Clarissa. “The one good thing about this, she’s 2 years old and she really can’t remember much.”
Dozens of people have posted emotional tributes to the dental hygienist on a Facebook memorial page for Dzikowski, a beloved member of the neighborhood.
“She was always smiling, always nice, always saying ‘hello,'” recalled Larkins, a next-door neighborwho said she watched Dzikowski grow up.”She would always come down the street andsay ‘Hi Aunt Marie, how you doing?'”
In violence-plagued Philly, where homicide detectives only had a 52 percent rate of closing murder investigations in 2015, Larkins said this case isn’t getting the attention it needs.
“There’s a lot of anger because this person hasn’t been caught and we’re not getting any answers from the detectives. We feel like we’re getting the runaround,” Larkins said.
Larkins said specifically that the night of the murder, she didn’t see police block off the street to search for clues, or canvas the neighborhood to talk to witnesses.
“How did they know this person didn’t throw the weapon while they were running?” she said. “They came, assessed the scene, took fingerprints off the door, then they told the family you can go in there and clean up the blood.”
Sadowniczakcouldn’t be reached for comment on how the case is being handled Sunday.
Larkins said that she and other friends of Dzikowski’s hope to hold more rallies, possibly even every month, until the killer is caught.
Declining to comment on rumors of what may have led Dzikowski to know this killer, Larkins simply said, “She didn’t deserve to die like that.”
The only description of the suspect available is a male in a hoodie spotted fleeing the area that night.
“It aggravates everyone that we don’t know the reason, who did it, why they did what they did,” Larkins said. “Who would hate her that much that they would go in there and do that?”
A $20,000 reward is being offered by the city for information leading to the arrest of Dzikowski’s killer. Tipsters can call 215-686-TIPS (8477), or text a tip to PPDTIP (773847).